Ancient Road Publications


      

Some Questions About the Church of Christ Answered

Introduction.  When people encounter Christians who worship with churches that identify themselves as “churches of Christ” there are a number of questions that arise about who we are, what we believe, and why we do what we do.  This morning I’d like to try to address some of these so that, if you are not a member of the church of Christ you might better understand who we are.  If you are a member, we offer the study to you as well so that you might be better prepared to answer such questions when they arise.

I.  “Why do you claim to be non-denominational?”  The Bible condemns religious division, and doctrinal diversity (1 Corinthians 1:10).  Denominationalism is built on both concepts.  We believe that if we reject all doctrines and practices not found in Scripture, and follow all that is found in Scripture we can be nothing more (and nothing less) than a congregation of Christians who are a part of the Lord’s church.

II.  “Isn’t the name ‘Church of Christ’ just a denominational title?”  No.  Romans 16:16 refers to those in the Lord’s church as “churches of Christ”. 1 Corinthians 1:2 refers to the Christians in Corinth as “the church of God”.  Hebrews 12:23 speaks of the same people as part of the “church of the firstborn.”  Church of Christ is simply one of many scriptural designations concerning to whom the church belongs.  It is not, however, an exclusive title but an identification of ownership.

III.   “Do you identify yourselves with all groups who call themselves a ‘Church of Christ’?”  No.  (2 Thessalonians 3:6 ; 2 John 9-11)   If we are to remain true to our aim of restoring New Testament Christianity we must not identify ourselves with any practices or teachings not found in Scripture regardless of what those involved in them may call themselves.

IV.  “Do you only believe in the New Testament?”  No.  We believe that all scripture is inspired.  However, scripture itself teaches that certain parts of it apply to specific times and peoples (Jeremiah 31:31-34). 

            When Jesus instituted the memorial service called the Lord’s supper He declared the coming of this New Covenant in His blood (Luke 22:20).  He taught in John 12:47,48 that it would be His words that judge men on the last day. Hebrews 8:13 points out that the Old Covenant was to vanish away.  So, while the Old Testament is valuable and instructive, in this age the New Testament is the binding pattern for man.

V.   “Why do you teach baptism is essential for salvation?”  The Bible does not teach that baptism is the sole requirement for salvation.  Neither does it teach that faith is the sole requirement for salvation.  Rather, faith and obedience are described as the human response to God’s offer of grace to mankind (Acts 2:37-41, 47).

            The Bible teaches that when one is scripturally baptized they are added by the Lord to His church—made up of those saved by His grace.   Baptism isn’t the only thing.  This text shows that we must repent.  Further, Romans 10:9,10 teaches us that we must believe and confess Christ before men. 

            Why not just do as the Bible  teaches?  We realize that this runs counter to what much of the world teaches but all we can do is appeal to scripture (Galatians 3:26,27).

VI.  “Why don't you use muscial instruments in worship?”  If the New Testament is to be our pattern for life and worship we may follow it with the confidence that it reveals the manner in which God would have us to worship Him.  While the New Testament describes singing as an act of church worship to God it does not teach the use of mechanical instruments. 

            In Colossians 3:16 Christians are urged to teach and admonish one another “...In psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.”  Ephesians 5:19 says much the same in urging Christians to speak to one another “...In Psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord.” 

Under Old Testament law instruments were commanded.   Yet, the New Testament contains no such commands, examples, or necessary inferences.  In addition to this history bears witness that the church for centuries abstained from the use of mechanical instruments in worship.  To follow the New Testament we must reject such an addition.

VII.   “Why don’t you believe in modern day miracles?”  Bible miracles were events in which the laws of nature were altered to bring about a deed God wished to occur.  The Bible teaches that miracles were intended to confirm and reveal the Word. 

            Look what Jesus says before performing His second sign (John 4:48).   Look what was said about the use of miracles after Jesus ascension (Mark 16:20).  Yet, the Bible also promised that when this purpose was accomplished they would come to an end (1 Corinthians 13:8-10).  Note: Context is partial revelation.  

            While we believe that God hears and answers the prayers of His Children  (James 5:15), the indication is that He does so through His providence and natural law rather than miracles as they occurred in Bible times.

VIII.  “Why are you opposed to church tradition?”  Jesus taught that following human traditions, when they oppose the Word of God is vain worship (Matthew 15:8, 9).  Many traditions taught  by churches throughout the world have no scriptural basis and must therefore be opposed.

IX.   “Do you believe you are the only ones going to heaven?”  Since the Lord’s church by definition is made up of the saveed—only members of the Lord’s church will be saved. However, we are not presumptuous enough to judge our own (or anyone elses) faithfulness to God.  He will judge all men’s deeds and hearts through Jesus Christ and His word.  The Bible teaches that all who abide in the Word of God will be saved and that those who do not will be lost (John 15:1-8). We believe that all who do what the Bible teaches will be saved.  Don’t you?

Conclusion.  It is our hope that you might be persuaded this very morning to leave behind the confusion of the world and accept the pure simplicity of New Testament Christianity.  We could hear your confession of faith and baptize you into Christ and you would become a part of the Lord’s church.

Kyle Pope 2009

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